Pilgrim’s Tales Publishing is a small individually owned imprint that puts out unusual and very personal travel books aimed at the vicarious voyager in us all. Brandon and Cheryl Wilson are intrepid travelers indeed, accomplishing daunting long-distance treks — often the first Americans to do so — and putting their experiences into words.
Yak Butter Blues (right) by Brandon Wilson is the tale of the couple’s 650-mile trek across Tibet. Walking from Lhasa to Kathmandu, in neighboring Nepal, they crossed the wild Himalayan plains, accompanied only by their Tibetan horse, Sadhu. They faced Tibet’s challenging weather (blistering winds, extreme temperatures, sandstorms, blizzards, high altitudes and thin air), as well as what the author describes as “exhaustion, hunger, illness, inflexible bureaucrats and trigger-happy soldiers.” It’s a tale of faith, of the human spirit and human connections, as well as an ancient culture that has changed after half a century of Chinese rule.
Dead Men Don’t Leave Tips: Adventures X Africa, also by Brandon Wilson, documents their 10,000-mile overland odyssey Morocco on the Mediterranean to Cape Town, South Africa, on the continent’s farthest tip. Interactions with clueless tourists, uninformed guides, people and animals are the fodder for this travel adventure book.
Walking on the Templar Trail, Wilson’s next book, covers Wilson’s trip “in the footsteps of history.” With an he embarks on a 2,620-mile trekking pilgrimage for peace across two continents and countries along an ancient trail followed by Templars, Romans, pilgrims, and traders on their way from France to Jerusalem.
I have never met Brandon or Cheryl Wilson, but I’d like to. When it comes to travels of this ambition and treks of such magnitude, vicarious works for me.